Matthew Lauer is an environmental anthropologist with a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has worked in the Western Solomons since 2001, primarily in Roviana, Vonavona, and Marovo lagoons. His work focuses on issues of sustainability, ecological change, ecosystem management, and human-environment interaction in both land and marine ecosystems. Methodologically he is particularly interested in using geographic tools such as GIS and remote sensing to integrate human ecology, indigenous knowledge, marine science.
Anthropology, spatial science, human ecology: Roviana, Vonavona
Current affiliation, academic qualifications and contact details
Matthew Lauer (PhD. UC-Santa Barbara, 2005)
Department of Anthropology/Sustainability and Environmental Studies Program
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 92182-6040
tel.: +1 619 594 0978
I am an environmental anthropologist with research experience in the Caribbean, South American, and the Pacific. The overarching theme of my teaching and research agendas is to raise awareness, more deeply understand, and actively try and solve human-environmental issues. My research in the Solomon Islands began in 2001 when Dr. Shankar Aswani invited me to participate in a marine resource management program in Roviana and Vonavona Lagoons. Returning every summer to conduct research, my efforts were focused on combining geographic tools (GIS/remote sensing), anthropological fieldwork, and marine science methods to study artisanal fisheries and human-environment interactions across the region. Through this research I have explored topics such as customary governance, indigenous knowledge and epistemologies, and local responses, understandings, and interpretations of ecological change. Over the years I have become fluent in Solomon Islands Pijin and have a moderate understanding of Roviana.
Most recently I am collaborating with Ben Halpern, Shankar Aswani, Simon Albert, and Taku Furusawa on a 3-year study examining the impacts of the 2007 earthquake tsunami on the western Solomons. The project is funded through NSF’s Human and Social Dynamics program and is entitled “Understanding Socio-ecological Impacts and Responses to Large Scale Environmental Disturbance in the Western Solomon Islands”. A more in-depth description can be found here.
Lauer, Matthew, and Shankar Aswani. (forthcoming June 2009) "Indigenous ecological knowledge as situated practices: Understanding fishers’ knowledge in the western Solomon Islands." American Anthropologist
Lauer, Matthew, and Shankar Aswani. (2008) "Integrating indigenous ecological knowledge and multi-spectral image classification for marine habitat mapping in Oceania." Ocean & Coastal Management 51(6):495-504.
Aswani, Shankar, and Matthew Lauer. (2006) "Benthic mapping using local aerial photo interpretation and resident taxa inventories for designing marine protected areas." Environmental Conservation 33(3): 263-273.
Aswani, Shankar, and Matthew Lauer. (2006). "Incorporating fishers’ local knowledge and behavior into geographical information systems (GIS) for designing marine protected areas in Oceania." Human Organization 65(1): 80-101.
Lauer et al (2008 Integrating indigenous ecological knowledge and multi-spectral image classification for marine habitat mapping in Oceania (article).pdf
Lauer et al (2009) Indigenous Ecological Knowledge as Situated Practices: Understanding Fishers’ Knowledge in the Western Solomon Islands (article).pdf
Lauer et al (2010) Indigenous Knowledge and Long-term Ecological Change: Detection, Interpretation, and Responses to Changing Ecological Conditions in Pacific Island Communities (article).pdf